This year’s World Cup has proven to be one of the most thrilling in the tournaments esteemed history. Although our beloved Socceroos failed to make it out of the group stages, fans have seen some incredible performances from teams and individuals showcasing why football truly is the world game.
As well as the sport itself, football songs have become part and parcel of big tournaments such as the World Cup and the European Championships. While some may scoff at this statement, considering how cheesy and lyrically poor many round ball songs are, there have been some absolute belters over the years, now considered classics.
With the World Cup final now decided with a tantalising matchup between France and Croatia, we’ve chosen to highlight five of the best football-themed tunes to get you pumped for the massive game this coming Monday morning. Come on Croatia!
Balddiel and Skinner/The Lightning Seeds – “Three Lions (Footballs Coming Home)”
The most famous English football song of all time, “Three Lions” was first released in anticipation of the 1996 European Championships. The song was so successful an updated version was recorded for the 1998 World Cup, with the song having another life this tournament. The ultimate anthem for a nation continually let down by a team burdened with expectations, the hook “it’s coming home” has become the war cry of England fans this World Cup, although they’ve been rightly put back in their place after another devastating semi-final loss.
Fat Les – “Vindaloo”
What began as a parody of football songs (with a film clip taking the piss out of the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”) became a fan favourite amongst the terraces. Written by Keith Allen with help from Blur bassist Alex James and artist Damian Hirst, “Vindaloo” is a catchy tune with its “nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah’s” and direct lyrics, reminding fans about the basic principles of football; “We’re gonna score one more than you…”
Shakira – "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)”
Latin superstar Shakira has contributed songs to four different World Cups with her best effort being this playful number. This official song for the 2010 World Cup was received negatively by host nation South Africa, but fast became the biggest selling World Cup single thanks to its merging of African beats with uplifting and passionate lyrics. Interesting fact; Shakira meet her long-term partner, Spanish and Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique, when he appeared in the film clip. Lucky man.
New Order – “World In Motion”
Released to coincide with the 1990 World Cup in Italy, “World In Motion” is a low key synth thumper from 80s legends New Order. The song features England players on backing vocals as well as possibly the worst rap of all time from England striker John Barnes. The song remains New Order’s only number one hit, with the film clip a final reminder of bassist Peter Hook’s horrible ponytail.
Ricky Martin – “The Cup Of Life”
No list of World Cup inspired anthems would be complete without including Ricky Martin’s hip-shaking “The Cup Of Life.” At the height of his popularity in the 90s, Martin provided the official theme for the 1998 World Cup in France with this euphoric hybrid of Latin rhythms and pop melodies. Even now, some 20 years later, “The Cup Of Life” stands head and shoulders above all football songs, capturing the excitement and wonder of the world game with its rousing chorus and Martin’s spectacular dance moves.